Feeling the Unpretty

Awhile back,
 I posted a photo of myself on Instagram of me crying… okay sobbing. I don’t remember the specifics off the top of my head, but I just remember
it was a rough week.
I posted the picture because everyone in this society is {hopefully} well aware that social media has often become a platform for freedom of expression,
& more often then not a platform for people {understandably so}
 to express the pretty. 
So I posted that photo last year to showcase the unpretty on Instagram.

Sometimes despite all our blessings we are bombarded & bogged down with discouragement.
 We feel;
defeated, angry, jealous,exhausted, annoyed, lonely,
bitter,desperate, and/or downcast.

Around the block & around the world these feelings are felt.
Read these words,
 they are raw they are rough but they are REAL,
 nonetheless read & repeat them until they seep deep into your bones,
till you get it through your thick skull,
& it intertwines into the very fiber of your being;

this is your humanity showing 
& in the words of John Green
 “pain demands to be felt”
so if you’re mad get MAD, if you’re upset CRY
don’t hold it all inside
FEEL it 
i just BEG you
KNOW you’re not the 1st or only
don’t dive into the tides of pride & believe the BOLDFACE LIE 
 that nobody gets it or you.
latch onto that buoy that reads ” I’VE BEEN THERE”
somebody else has been there
YES we are all unique & 
YES we ALL truly matter&
YES nobody in this world can be a better you than YOU
but it’s a bit POMPOUS & ENTITLED of us
to fall into baloney  trap of
nobody gets it, nobody gets me, nobody has been where I am at in this way”
With all due respect & ALL the love in my heart;
get over yourself
congratulations you’re a human <3
not only are you not the 1st, only, or last to feel what you’re feeling,but
that’s just this writer’s way of saying you & your unpretty feelings matter,
keeping things in perspective, & keeping both YOU and I in check.

I began writing this ” Mr. Realist & Mrs. Dreamer” blog
as a means of recording this journey alongside Greg into the unknown that is life
rooted in the love of Christ [ 292 days in =) praise break ] !!!
& I would be doing our future selves a huge disservice
if I did not include the unpretty.

What spurred today’s blogpost you say …
it’s simply being home on a friday night 
and Greg { the social introvert} & I { the shy extrovert}
wanting to hangout with friends on a Friday night,
& realizing we don’t have that her
& feeling so friendless….
& questioning if we heard our God correctly
& why did He bring us here?
& why strip us of the truest friends we’ve ever had
that community we had in NJ/NY?
& YES we’ve started connecting here but those relationships are yet to bloom
& feelings of friendlessness OVERRIDE

so i write.
I write the truth when I am too hardheaded to believe it.
I write to STAY PUT when I just wanna start all over running somewhere new because we haven’t made besties in the 2 months of living here.

i write for me focused me & you.
to remind us of our humanity
to remind me that we’re not the first newlyweds to move somewhere new
& to grow impatient quickly thinking

“oh great what did we do, 
our21st century instant gratification selves aren’t being quenched”

to remind YOU
whoever YOU may be that

Feeling the Unpretty, Showcases our Humanity
& that is a beautiful yet underestimated thing

WE are not the 1st, last, or only to FEEL
be brave enough to FEEL & SHOWCASE YOUR HUMANITY
freeing others to feel
rescuing them from tides of PRIDE & LIES
we can ALL serve as BUOYS to fellow humans that read

so that even as we sit home on a friday night
– which isn’t at all a bad gig especially alongside the love of your life –
we can FEEL the unpretty that is FEELING FRIENDLESS
& wait for the day that this situation of showcasing our humanity,
can serve as someones breath of fresh air.

Happy Trails With Family

The last getaway to the beach for Greg & I was nearly 10 months ago & thousands of miles away in a foreign country for our honeymoon. So we leaped for joy at our family’s desire to spend MDW together at Point Pleasant Beach ! To Greg’s surprise our road trip this weekend with our family to the tropical shores of New Jersey DID in fact serve as a little slice of paradise. Yep that’s right, New Jersey was just referred to as a little slice of paradise.
We always treasure any moment we get with family & nature, so having a few days to enjoy the splendor of BOTH of  these miracles was pure bliss. 
Not to mention the lavish of home cooked feijoãda, picanha,arroz, collard greens, farofa to which Greg said ” God sure was taking care of me when I got to marry into a Brazilian family”. 
We sipped on Guava, Agua,Caipirinhas,& Margaritas.
We danced, ate, laughed, read, ate, soaked up some rays, swam, rested,& ate some more.
Just following God’s orders:
Greg has made tremendous strides transitioning into the hearts of my family & embracing my Jersey-Brasilian heritage. Though, as you’ll see from the photos below, he’s still making sure some good ol’ fashion American cheeseburgers make an appearance, he’s adjusted quite nicely to the unofficial tradition of knocking out after the tranquilizer that Brasilian food can be.
We were intentional –  & I’d like to think successful- in enjoying every moment paired with immense gratitude .
Eager for the next adventure, beyond the everyday adventure of serving Jesus as we love one another, and currently coping with a bit of the culture shock that remains from transitioning to the shores of NJ to a city in the heart of the farmlands of PA.
Jersey shore bound

This old soul refuses to use anything but his CD binder
The Beach House we stayed in; okay Greg something like this for our future home….
… with a view like this, & no I would not grow numb to it
Burgers, Beards, Buns & Beer

Basically Zuco & Sandy from Grease
meu melhor amigo e o meu amor

Courtesy of the Red White & Blue
Margaritaville is wherever you want
Nothing like a burger
Boardwalk Shenanigans
Nao existe cafe da manha como Pao de Queijo
Eu quero é você
Eu amo só você
O resto tanto faz
American Girls and American Guys
We’ll always stand up and salute
We’ll always recognize
When we see Old Glory Flying
There’s a lot of men dead
So we can sleep in peace at night
When we lay down our head
Any moment spent with you is a moment I treasure
^ only Bryann plays hangman to say ” Counter-Cyclical Fiscal Policy”
Kohr Bro’s Vanilla/Orange Twist… It’s a shore thing
Greg is still working on sharing with this icecream monster
Like I’m 5 years old again
Boa Noite amorzinho

Comida Brasileira
There it is I learned how to let him have some
My Day 1’s
The Weekend Crew

Whatever the BRIDE Wants

This afternoon I was sitting outside at work doing the usual caretaking when I overheard a phrase that quite frankly has always irked me;

” Whatever the BRIDE Wants”
This mentality has disturbed me so, because of
-now this might come off a little crass & of course you’re free to disagree- 
how self centered & entitled it is.
The wedding and more importantly the MARRIAGE isn’t nor should it be, solely about ” whatever the bride wants”
Now I’ll be the first to admit that this is a socially constructed mentality, continually fed to us by society ( so I understand how it has come to be) 
but just because it’s a mentality that exists, 
doesn’t mean it healthy, accurate, or worthy to be practiced.
As I recall our own engagement, leading up to the wedding day, I was bombarded with messages like this;
” What the Bride says goes ! ” 
” What the Bride wants she gets” 
” Better do it the brides way or Bridezilla will come out”
“ALL eyes on the Bride, its HER day”
& of course ” Whatever the Bride Wants”
* to which I have to say oh please SPARE ME *
I am not easily irate, it takes a lot to really push me over the edge,
so for a while I rolled my eyes & shook it off, 
but the straw that broke this camels back 
was when Greg said a variation of these phrases.
Mind you; he said so lovingly 
out of the genuine desire to please me & lavish me in love 
to give me the ” dream” wedding
but the reality is;
I’m not marrying myself here. 
There may be an I in wedding, but more importantly so, theres a WE
In times of decicsion making people would say,
” It’s not about others it’s about you & the groom”
which is true to some extent & there are certainly boundaries that need to be set
BUT we’re only a PART of that WE in WEDDING.
Let’s get over ourselves & throw away any ” I ” mentality.
It’s not about you,sorry not sorry.
Take your eyes off “I” & zero in that gaze of yours on Christ.
Figure out how on a day society reinforces “me, me, me” you glorify “He”.
Additionally, it’s not about how you want the cake food decor insert all the other 
 frivolous fru-fru that is all well & good, but isn’t necessary.
This planning process is the beginning of a new season of life,
as you step into being A TEAM forever
So this just in, the time to think WE, 
started the moment you said “yes” at the proposal
( unless you proposed to the groom as the bride to which I totally respect)
 – or at least I can speak for myself GREG I WANT YOU-
your opinions 
& decisions 
matter to me .
 I love the way you think
 so of course I value/want your input !

FAMILY& FRIENDS ( a.k.a.  beloved guests),
Though our decisions aren’t made FOR you
-decisions made revolve around praising Jesus & representing us-
WE keep you in mind, WE care about you.
It’s a privilege to have you here & consider you on this day.
ALL this to say;
 Marriage is beautiful & a WEdding
 is such as sweet way to celebrate stepping into this major life change.
 But if there’s even the slightest hint of a high horse in you,
heres to hoping these words of mine knock you right off it.
For your approach/attitude on your wedding day,
can subconsciously  be quite reflective of the approach/attitude
 towards life that your marriage will be.
Greg & I chose to keep the WE in wedding by;
-giving Jesus center stage for a while
-making decisions geared towards making our guests comfortable
– being secretive ( until now) about donating a portion of our wedding $ to an NGO
– entrusting our artists (florists, photographer,etc) to run wild & free to do their thing
– spending anytime we could loving our guests 
WEddings like marriage ( & life )
can be easily misconstrued to be made about “whatever I want”
but how much sweeter it is when we take our eyes off “I”
& including/loving the WE.

A Humbled Cynic

Since moving to Lancaster I’ve had the privilege of working part time, care taking for a 56 year old Amish gentleman with severe autism. He is infatuated with horses, trucks, & eavesdropping on all the interactions going on around him.

Upon my arrival he promptly finishes his food & shouts ” go ” , because I believe he’s begun to associate seeing me with going outside to the patio, which seems to be the highlight of both his day & my work day.

All to often -& especially since living in Lancaster – I get caught up in what am I doing with my life, where am I headed, how am I making my life count to shine Jesus’ light?
Greg refers to this as “contemplative Thressa”.
I absolutely believe it’s healthy & necessary to ask ourselves these questions, to keep ourselves on our toes.
& yet there’s something so beautiful,and  peace filling, that pushes all those questions to the wayside about taking care of EK.
I am reawakened to the small wonders of life that I so easily overlook; 
To breath 
To see
To hear 
To taste
To speak
To laugh
To listen 
To observe 
To walk 
To eat 
To feel 
The warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze rustling the leaves on the trees, the roar of a motorcycle, the vastness of the bright blue sky, the sound of a familiar voice interacting with you.
Wonders I overlook, cause I’m bombarded with the desire to make my life count. 
Yet when I’m with EK all those thoughts of making life count submerge, as we sit outside taking in all of the beauty this life has to offer, I just focus on giving him the love we all want as humans & I read to him.
Thankfully he doesn’t mind the sound of my voice, because when I read quietly to myself he taps my book to get my attention, until I get the hint that he wants me to read aloud to him.
So I do just that.

This week I’ve been reading ” The Cost of Discipleship” to him, by Dietrich Boenhoffer. Not sure at all what if anything that is read, is being retained -by either him or myself- but I like a read that gives me a little food for thought, that requires some time to marinate, that’s still digesting even a little while after it’s been consumed.
As I was finishing up the final few sentences of chapter 26, EK said ” go go go” , after 3 hours outside he was done in the sun, and was ready go inside to sit in his rocking chair to listen to his music. 
We walk inside & a middle aged  Hispanic man who works at the establishment starts speaking to me, internally I roll my eyes as I judge this guy because of the next words that come out of his mouth in Spanish “heyy miss you speak Spanish ? You Puerto Rican” . I think to myself ugh can’t go nowhere without being hit on, ugh my olive skin tone or whatever it is always is a dead give away that I’m Latina & people think that’s a free ticket to come talk to me. But I responded politely in Spanish saying ” a little bit but actually I’m Brasilian ” . oh great – I thought -now what kinda demeaning statement is he gonna say to me next ,cause I’m Brasilian & unfortunately that’s has the tendency to be associated with the maligned assumption to say something shallow & perverse.
I admit, perhaps I was a little cynical, but I was just on guard, annoyed, & was especially not in the mood to be reckoned with.
Then this guy shuts all my thoughts up real quick as I hastily maneuver myself & EK to the elevator .
” This work your doing caring for him, the Lord see’s you, continue serving Him”
shocked & humbled by his words I blurted out a ” thank you God bless you” in Spanish as I was saved by the need to say anything else because of the elevators arrival, just in the knick of time .
As I rode the elevator, I felt the strong sense to pull out the book & re read te sentences I last read to EK.
“The BEARERS of Jesus bring with them the most precious gift in the world, the gift of Jesus Christ. And with him they bring God the Father,& that means indeed forgiveness + salvation, life + bliss. He who offers a cup of cold water to the weakest & poorest who bears no honourable name, has ministered to Christ himself, and Jesus Christ will be his reward”
This is what I’m doing with my life,
This is where I’m headed
shining Jesus’ light as I take time to REALLY, TANGIBLY love others.
Today that happens to be EK.
Today I was HUMBLY reminded 
to not judge a book due to presupposition,& sometimes as your endlessly searching to serve and share God’s love with the world, you subcinciously already are.

Today is Others Day

This past Sunday was all about the mothers,
& you know what day today is?
Today is Others day.
Tomorrow is Others day.

For as long as I can remember my Mother has always prioritized Others.
One last serving of HER favorite dessert?
 yup, she gave it to Brendan because to this day he has the biggest sweet tooth I know putting both the Cookie Monster & Hansel + Gretel to shame.
 Others Day.

She was exhausted from long days of hard work just so we could get by,
 but Bruce begged her to play, so I bet you can figure what happened next?
yup, she played.To this day that boy is soaking up all the play time life gives him.
 Others Day.

When she had to direct a play at church & I wanted mommy time, did I get it?
yup, & I became her assistant director at that ( okay so I was only 7 but still it was pretty mesmerizing to see your mom lead people & bring words to life).
To this day the scene of a stage coming to life & words are my favorite things.
 Others Day.

Bryann had homework that was beyond her comprehension, & she still had 3 other kids to take care of ?yup, she sat beside him anyway, more than content to be lost & taught by her son .
To this day she’s more than content to be listening to what he has to say, eager to learn all he has to teach her.
Others day.

When we were bullied, thriving, sick,learning, mean,
loving, healthy, wrong, & cranky.

she was (is) there. 
through. it. all.

She FAUGHT(ights) for us, CRIED(ies) for us, CORRECTED (s) us,
LAUGHED (s) at & with us FOR YEARS.

It’s kind of a joke to have only one day for a woman who always put others first
**don’t get it twisted
my mom KNOWS that self care is important
as evidence by;
 her weekly visits to the salon to get her hair did & mani/pedi,
as well as taking as many beach days as necessary to rejuvenate
– so mamma’s out there reading this, burning out doesn’t make for healthy mamma’s,  treat yourself

so as sweet as you are wild MOTHERS
I salute you all
on this Others day & all the Others days to come
for every moment you’ve given everything you had for us & serving others
for any moment you thought your kids would never come around
for whatever moment your humanity was showing, & you royally messed up…

It’s our turn as the kids to say,
all the things we’ve taken too long to say,
been to self-centered to say,
and that we just plain forget to say.

i love you 
i thank you
i am sorry
i forgive you
i believe in you 
i see you
i’ll take care of you
i’ve learned mercy,strength,humility,compassion,&anger at injustice from you

i’m proud to be an extension of you
*not just on Mothers Day, but on all the OTHER DAYS <3 *

 Fortunately, I am privileged enough for this to be true about my birth mother.
BUT if its not true for your birth mother,
or your mother has passed away,
or sometimes you feel like a mother
{even though you don’t have any kids of your own},
a mOther isn’t just the woman who gives birth to you
she’s the woman who raises &/or is a role model for you,  
ever present in one way or another.

So whoever that is CELEBRATE MOM (or BE that mom)
as she constantly serves others, on all the other days ! ! !

Aerial Shot of our simple & sweet yard, that we’re ever SO thankful for.

Lady the Lush…guarding the guava juice?

Shrimp Cocktail, Crabcakes, &Zucchini Bread

Free printable banners are my jam

Backyard Brunch to fill up our moms with some OVERDUE lovin’

Sideways shot of theMenu, Champagne, & Fresh Berry Salad

Summer Gnocchi for Mamae

Mother in-love,me, & Grandmother in-love.

Mothers & Daughters

Beijos pra mamae Sandwich

Proud of my husband for Shamelessly asking Michael’s for this sign for FREE

Summer Gnocchi & Oatmeal Yogurt with Blackberry Crush Pancakes
Chillin’ out,maxin’out, & relaxin all cool

obnoxiously large mothers day cards…

…for both our mommys.

Mothers Day Family Fun, Brunchin’ in the Sun!